L1 vertebra compression fracture : (

While my horse is sidelined with his own injury (hind suspensory) I was riding a different horse. Got bucked off, landing on my rear end, immediate severe back pain, did the smart thing and stayed still while coach called for an ambulance. I have a 30-50% height compression fracture of L1 with 9mm retropulsion (pushing into spinal canal). Other than back pain, which is mostly muscular, I have no changes: no numbness, tingling or weakness anywhere. I am in a full TLSO back brace for 8-12 weeks with no bending, lifting or twisting allowed. I see the neurosurgeon at 1 month to evaluate healing. When he saw me at the hospital he said 70-80% chance of healing without surgery.

I’ve seen some older threads with similar injuries and various outcomes. Right now I’m managing to stay positive about both my boy and I healing together and being able to continue our dressage journey together. I have my coach who will be able to do the riding portion of his rehab and other support at home and the barn.

I’d love to hear your experiences (good or bad) with healing, PT, surgery and getting back to riding.

I don’t have experiences to share but I wanted to wish you good healing vibes!

Jingles for a good outcome and no surgery needed.


I did the same thing in 2015 to T11 and T12 by getting bucked off a horse. I knew right away something wasn’t right, but I was a stupid college kid and riding alone, so I hobbled up and drove to the urgent care.
I wore the TOSO brace for 12 weeks and did PT starting at 3-4 weeks in, I think!
I still get pain in that area of my back, and it really flared up during pregnancy, but otherwise does well if I keep my core somewhat in shape.
I am so sorry you are dealing with this!! Happy healing!


I teach an older lady who had a similar injury about 3 or 4 years ago. She came off and landed on a jump pole. She is back riding and started jumping this summer (albeit little fences). With her injury, I guess a big risk was bone shards migrating? She is a very fit person - I guess the injury and subsequent physio was a real catalyst to a healthier lifestyle.

A few years ago a local dressage pro had a very serious back/neck injury after falling off onto a jump, and was in hospital for quite a long time. If I recall she had to take a year off riding (or at least riding seriously), but is now back and training/riding in Europe.

I hope your healing goes smoothly and you recover better than before!


I had a compression fracture of L2 four years ago. When I hit (flat on my back), I felt it and figured I broke either my back or my pelvis. Took a shower to get the arena dirt off before calling a friend to take me to urgent care. Orthopedic doc suggested a brace, but I refused because I knew I’d never wear it, and my hip/waist ratio wouldn’t let it sit right anyway. After the muscles quit hurting 3 days later, never had much pain. I did try to behave, though (even though I wore heels and danced at my trainer’s wedding 3 weeks later).
Main after-effect has been mental, not physical. My riding confidence still hasn’t recovered, even though my back has.


i had a similar injury over 10yrs ago… i had a fracture of my T5 from falling off at a sponsored ride (fell onto my feet but fell straight backwards and landed on my bum!) the thing that affected me the most was the muscle damage from the way i fell, it was a long time ago but from what i can remember it was a fair few weeks before my back could take riding again, but at the time i didn’t know i had a fracture!! the hospital i went to said i was fine, just muscle spasm causing the pain… got a letter a few weeks later saying a specialist had looked at my x-rays and confirmed the fracture and to see my GP for further treatment…
my case doesn’t sound as serious as yours (wasn’t seen by a surgeon, no back brace and a different area of the back) but i would def recommend physio if you are not having it already, to help strengthen your back for when you start riding again. good luck!


I crushed my L1 at 17 (almost 20 years ago). I wasn’t in a brace and no surgery, but had significant pain in healing, did I follow directions? Probably not, it was far enough back in the day medications were abundant.

I started riding again after a healing period, took time off for undergrad/grad school, and got back into riding a few years ago. I’ve done fine, occasionally go back to PT for a “tune up” and have found modalities like massage, TENS, heat that help keep my back doing fine. My vertebrae did not heal square, but it has done fine so far. When I’ve had falls since then I just take an extra pause before moving, but that’s also the realization that I don’t bounce off the ground as well as I did as a kid.

You’ve got this!


How are you feeling?

@CHT - I’m doing well, all things considered. Pain is easily managed with an occasional Tylenol. I’m able to work (I’ve been WFH since 2020) which keeps me busy and not getting stir crazy. I’m not going to go on a work trip to Germany, but I’ll get to go another time.

My family has been amazing stepping up to do the things I can’t. :gift_heart:

The good (?) news is horsey’s ultrasound was today and healing is progressing, but still looking at a few more months of hand walking (being done by trainer) before he starts back under saddle (also will be done by trainer). We are headed into winter and short days, when riding is a bit of a crapshoot anyway, too. So really, this couldn’t have happened at a better time, LOL!

Thank you, all for sharing your experiences. You (we) are a tough, stubborn, dedicated and inspiring group of lunatics!